Actor Patrick Fugit admits although he grew up with religion intensely around him within a predominantly Mormon neighborhood in Salt Lake City, Utah, he is not Mormon and has provided a different perspective to the characters he's portrayed in the religious-associated movie "Saved!" and the new Cinemax series "Outcast."
"It's like someone who works in an ice-cream shop and doesn't think one way or the other about ice cream," Fugit told Vulture.
"Saved!" is a 2004 comedy-drama about deeply religious teens. The film touched on the issues of religion, ostracism, homophobia, teen pregnancy, divorce and disabilities. In this film, Fugit's role of character Patrick Wheeler originally was supposed to be a surfer, but the character was changed to a skateboarder due to Fugit's skateboarding experience since the age of 15.
Fugit said he has never been Mormon, so he had an outsider's perspective of it. "Saved!" was definitely something I was interested in because of my upbringing and my outsider's experience of religion - particularly of traditional and conservative religion."
Creators Robert Kirkman and Chris Black's new Cinemax original horror show, "Outcast," stars Philip Glenister as Reverend Anderson, who's determined to rid his small Southern town of evil spirits. Fugit plays the reverend's reluctant sidekick, Kyle Barnes, who is a man grappling with his own turmoil after seeing demonic possession take its toll on those he loves.
Kirkman recently told Vulture that casting Fugit as the Barnes' character came after an exhaustive search, but that he was sold when he saw "there was an optimism that he brought to the role and such a sensibility and warmness that made you invested in him almost immediately."
Outcast is based on a comic by Kirkman, who also created "The Walking Dead." In the first Outcast trailer, Kirkman said he had a religious upbringing himself, and that he feels demonic possession is terrifying because "there's a much more, tangible feeling of dread."
In Outcast, religion exists as a belief system to communicate what the audience knows already about exorcism, reports Vulture. The reverend knows what the audience knows about exorcism because of the movies seen before, but that's there to show how different things are going to be in this new production.
Fugit's character, Kyle Barnes, has an anti-religious view. He doesn't believe it has to be about good and evil, or God and the devil. But the things he sees throughout the first episode really challenged that belief.
"People should expect much more than just horror," said executive producer Black. "It is a character show with horrific elements in it."
Fugit is the oldest of three children. He attended East High School, where he was diagnosed with ADHD. Fugit appeared in a school production of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" as the shoemaker, while he was in seventh grade.